In one of the rare investigations, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has registered a money laundering case against Pakistan-based outfit Falah-e-Insaniyat (FIF), a front for banned terror group Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT).
FIF is a Lahore-based organisation established by the Jamaat-ud-Dawa and acts as a front for the LeT. It was founded in 1990 by Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack. Its headquarters is in Pakistan.
The ED said a criminal case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) has been filed by the central probe agency for the outfit’s “involvement in money laundering through various hawala channels.
The agency said it took cognisance of a National Investigation Agency (NIA) FIR, filed under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) last year in September, to file its own case against the Falah-e-Insaniyat.. “These funds were utilised to carry out terrorist activities and create unrest in India,” the ED said in a statement.
The development comes within a week of India’s Note Verbale to Pakistan, raising a strong protest Saeed’s recent participation at ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ rally in Lahore. The Note Verbale read, “The ministry registers its strong protest at the continued use of Pakistan controlled territory by extremist and terrorist elements to freely propagate and promote violence and terror against India.”
Note verbale is a form of protest a country gives to another country when it annoyed by something or some issue that undermines it in the country concerned.
According to reports, the 69-year-old — an internationally designated terrorist with a US bounty of $10 million on his head — was showered with rose petals during the rally proceeding.
Saeed’s oganisation FIF is also no longer in the list of Pakistan’s banned organisations. Following international pressure and USA act of freezing military and economic aids to Pakistan in early 2018, former president Mamnoon Hussain had signed an ordinance amending the country’s Anti-Terrorism Act to include entities banned by the UN Security Council, including terror organisations such as JuD, FIF, Lashkar-e-Toiba, al-Qaeda, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
However, in October 2018, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) was informed that the presidential ordinance had lapsed and it had never been extended or tabled in Parliament to be converted into an act.
Several top Pakistani politicians and senior officials have been seen sharing the dais with him, making anti-India statements.
According to ED, the NIA has carried out searches in this case in the past and has seized over four dozen SIM cards, phones and Rs 1.56 crore (suspected) cash, Nepali currency worth worth Rs 43,000, 14 mobiles phones, five pen drives, nine passports,two kg gold jewellery apart from other incriminating documents. Four persons have been arrested till now in the case.
The ED said one of the arrested accused in the case, Delhi-based Mohammed Salman, was in “regular touch with a Dubai-based Pakistan national, who in turn was connected with the deputy chief of FIF.”
Salman is alleged to have received funds from FIF operators through hawala and he and other persons were reported to have received money illegally from various persons of Pakistan and UAE among others, the agency said.
Besides Salman, the NIA has also arrested FIF hawala conduit Mohammad Salim aka Mama, a resident of central Delhi’s Daryaganj, and Srinagar-based hawala courier Sajjad Abdul Wani.
The US also designated FIF as a terrorist entity in 2010. It is a front-end organisation of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a terror organisation proscribed under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
The ED said its probe will “establish money trail and identify proceeds of crime that are suspected to be generated out of the criminal activities.